The challenge in addressing the issue of creating a solution for garbage disposal was whether people would use garbage containers, but also if how these would be kept without the intervention of the municipality. Or perhaps, this would signal the issue to the municipality.
The first idea was to hang plastic bags with messages around the area. We tried this out and the response was very positive with vendors thanking us and people generally really happy with it. However, overnight no plastic bag remained, we needed a more sustainable solution.
With next to non existent budget, all discussions led to sketches and ideas, too hard to implement. Then we remembered a pile of old computers packed in a box outside the classroom. They were a problem for the school, that was trying to find ways of disposing of them. Students came up with the idea of transforming them in to garbage bins.
In this second tryout we thought it was important to address people not only in portuguese but also in xichangana,
the most spoken language in Maputo. To raise visibility of xichangana as a written language in public space, but also to improve communication.
We experienced some very good results with this solutions as people even started putting their domestic garbage
in plastic bags next to our garbage points to be collected by the municipality! (in down town Maputo garbage is not
collected at home, but has to be brought to big containers, the only garbage point and very often too full). We were not sure how to maintain the garbage bins, but people started using plastic bags in them.
In some areas it didn’t work so well and bins were still empty after a few days. It worked best in passing points
and where we had talked to the people living that part of the street (vendors, photographers, cooks, car washers). A year later, in returning to Maputo, I found a few garbage bins still being used in these areas.
One of the problems we had not foreseen is that the wire used to hang these recipients was too precious. Plastic bands would be a better alternative. Below images of the work process and of some of the final garbage bins created.